Skip to main content

Our favorite day of the week is here and it’s not just because it’s Friday—it’s Foundation Friday. It’s when we carve out time with one of our valued clients to learn more about the story behind their private foundation. It’s these stories that inspire us to continue to empower people to create a better world through philanthropy. In this edition, we’re catching up with Shannon Pulaski, the executive director of the Mike & Patti Hennessy Foundation, to learn about the remarkable legacy of its founders who inspired those around them to give generously and from a spirit of love.

About Your Philanthropy

What inspired the start of the foundation?
The Mike & Patti Hennessy Foundation was created to carry forward the legacy of its namesakes. Throughout their lives, Mike and Patti gave generously to charities whose missions reflected their core values—family, faith, education, and health.

What causes is the foundation most passionate about?
The Mike & Patti Hennessy Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all by advancing healthcare for hereditary diseases, elevating educational opportunities in the fields of health, science and technology, and supporting our local Christian educational programs. The Foundation values innovation and collaboration in our communities.

What projects/initiatives is the foundation excited about currently? What is one of the foundation’s achievements that you are proud of and why?
The Mike & Patti Hennessy Foundation has pledged to provide the Hackensack Meridian John Theurer Cancer Center with a transformational grant that will establish the Hennessy Institute for Cancer Prevention and Applied Molecular Medicine. The Hennessy Institute will focus on reducing cancer, improving outcomes, and preventing recurrence through a team of experts and navigators who will develop a seamless, easy-to-use platform and empower patients within their ecosystem. It will also focus on early detection through tests like liquid biopsies and genomics and detecting early relapse to enhance survivorship. Patients will have resources to help them mitigate risk factors, including reducing BMI, increasing activity, and focusing on nutrition and overall wellness. The Hennessy Institute will also address health inequities in cancer research and prevention by securing grants for those unable to pay the out-of-pocket costs associated with this type of advanced medicine. The goal is to present the collected data to the insurance industry, showcasing the benefits of cancer prevention in terms of costs for payers and patients, as well as the health benefits associated with preventive medicine.

Can you tell us about a time when you were able to see the impact of your giving?
When we select organizations to support, we are focused on impact. We are seeking organizations that align with our mission and are inspiring, collaborating, and innovating for a brighter tomorrow. Each of our grantees has demonstrated time and time again that when people come together in support of a common cause progress can be made. Each time we receive news from a grantee of a new development that will help prevent cancer or when we learn that our grantees have successfully launched new school programing in our local community, we see the impact of giving. We are truly fueled by the passion of our grantees.

What do you want other philanthropists to know about your work?
Through our work we are seeking to inspire, collaborate and innovate with others to improve the quality of life for all.

About Your Foundation

Do you have any advice for people looking to start or grow their own private foundation?
Embrace technology—whether it is through virtual meetings or utilizing platforms that will allow you to streamline the processes of starting a foundation.

How does Foundation Source help you achieve your goals?
We use the Impactfully foundation and grants management platform. It has been a key tool that has helped to keep board members organized, engaged, and informed. The Impactfully team has provided personal service, which helped our foundation to integrate this tool into our daily processes.

How was the process of getting your private foundation set up or transitioned to Foundation Source’s Impactfully platform?
The platform has an intuitive interface, which made the process of getting started a simple one and helped to ensure that the team is comfortable utilizing this tool to its full potential.

We are proud to support the work of the Mike & Patti Hennessy Foundation and thank them for sharing their story!

Want to learn more about the ways we support private foundations?
Looking for an easier way to manage a foundation or want to start a foundation? Our philanthropic specialists are here to help! To learn more, schedule a call with us or reach us at 800-839-0054. Together, let’s #begiving.

Back to Blog